Rev. John R. Thomas
Pastor Thomas has served as the Senior Pastor at Tabernacle since 1992. A native New Yorker, Pastor Thomas was raised in a believing family in the Binghamton area. He earned degrees from Baptist Bible Seminary (A.A.), State University of New York (B.S., Psychology), and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.). Pastor Thomas’s passion is to the dedicated study and preaching of the Word of God.
Before coming to Tabernacle, Pastor Thomas served as the senior pastor at First Day Baptist Church in Richburg, NY and Grace Baptist Church in Geneva, NY. Pastor Thomas has been married to his wife, Elrene, since 1972. They have three children, David, Nathan, and Christina, who are all walking with the Lord. In his spare time, Pastor Thomas enjoys the theater, photography, and spending time in New York City.
Paul Sand recently joined our staff after serving as the Bible Teacher for Tabernacle Christian Academy for the past 5 years. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Paul accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior at a young age and has since felt called to serve in the ministry and specifically to work with youth. Paul earned a B.S. in Secondary Education/History and Lingustics in 2001 from Northland Baptist Bible College and an M.Div. in 2008 from Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to moving to New York, Paul served for 10 years at Grace Baptist Church near Detroit and also worked as a mechanic at an automotive shop. Paul married his wife Amanda in 2004 and they have two daughters, Sierra, and Brooklyn, and Ted Jeong, their “son in the faith”.
Tabernacle Baptist Church was founded on September 10, 1910. The first building was dedicated in February of 1914. As the church grew, new property was needed to handle the many ministries. The current property at Academy and Holmes was purchased in 1955 and the new building was dedicated on October 5th, 1958. As God blessed the ministries of Tabernacle, the church expanded into the surrounding cities. East Park Community Church (now Hyde Park Baptist Church), founded in 1966, was the first of two church plants started from TBC. A second church, Fellowship Baptist of Highland, was planted in 1969. Over the years, additional classrooms, offices, and a fellowship hall were added to the current building. Our school, Tabernacle Christian Academy, opened in 1974 and quickly filled all available space. This led to further expansion with the addition of a new 3500 square-foot wing of classrooms in 2002. We are grateful for God’s continued hand of blessing upon our church. Even as the community and the world around us is in a constant state of change, our goal to exalt Christ and to reach others with the glorious gospel of grace remains unchanged!
What We Believe
The Doctrine of Scripture
We believe the Scriptures, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, to be verbally, wholly inspired by God and inerrant in the original texts, complete in revelation, final in content, absolute in authority in all matters to which they speak (Luke 24:27, 44-45; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Matthew 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Jude 3; Hebrews 4:12).
We further believe in the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation under the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:16-17; John 16:1215; 1 Corinthians 2:10-15; 1 John 2:20, 27; John 14:26).
We believe in the tri-unity (Trinity) of God. We believe there is one, and only one, living and true God, Creator of all things. He eternally exists in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These three are equal in every divine perfection, executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; Genesis 1:1,2,26; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:4-6).
God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom and love. Further, we believe He is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present, eternal and immutable. Finally, we believe He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:9; 1 Kings 8:27; Exodus 3:14; John 4:24; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Corinthians 1:20-25; 1 John 4:8; 1 John 3:20; Matthew 19:26; Psalm 139:7-12; Psalm 90:2; James 1:17; Psalm 86:15; Jeremiah 33:3; Acts 2:21).
God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, that He was begotten of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, that He is truly God and truly man, that He died on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, that He rose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God, is now our High Priest and Advocate, and will personally and visibly return to earth (John 1:1-2; Luke 22:70; John 5:18; Luke 1:35; Luke 1:27; Philippians 2:6-7; Titus 2:13; l Timothy 2:5; l Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 2:23; Acts 1:2, 9-11; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; Acts 1:11).
God the Holy Spirit
We believe the eternal Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Divine Trinity and is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ from the Father to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. We further believe that He is the regenerating Agent in the New Birth and that every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from salvation on. We believe that He keeps, guides, teaches and empowers the believer to serve Christ and live in victory over sin (Hebrews 9:14; Acts 5:4; Matthew 28:19; John 16;511; John 3:5-8; Acts 2:3839; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:14; John 14:26; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16-18).
We believe the “sign” gifts (early manifestations of the Holy Spirit) such as miracles, healings, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues, were temporary and gradually ceased at the end of the apostolic age. The unique purposes of these gifts were to accredit the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, to authenticate the apostles, and to confirm new revelation from God. Since these purposes have been fulfilled, and since the revelation of God has been “once for all delivered to the saints” and inscripturated, there is no further need for the “sign” gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11; 1 Corinthians 13:8; John 2:11; John 5:36; John 20:30-31; Acts 2:22; Acts 5:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4; Acts 14:3; Jude 3).
The Doctrine of Man
We believe the Genesis account of the unique and direct creation of man by God apart from any process of evolution, that man was originally created in the image and likeness of God, and in a state of moral innocence (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 9:6; Genesis 2:15-17).
We believe that Adam, the first man, fell into sin by a voluntary transgression and, being the head and representative of the entire race, plunged all mankind into sin. Therefore, all men became sinners by imputation, nature and choice (Genesis 3:1-19; Romans 5:12-19).
We believe, because of Adam’s sin, mankind is totally depraved, eternally dead in sin, separated from God, and under His condemnation (Romans 3:9-23; Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 4:18; John 3:36).
We believe all men are absolutely incapable of remedying their lost condition and the only hope for man’s salvation lies in the free grace of God in Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 2:22; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Doctrine of Sin
We believe in the reality of sin, that it is not an accident, a weakness, an absence of good, a lack of maturity or development (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12; Psalms 14:1-3; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:14; 1 John 3:4).
We believe sin is an act of responsible disobedience, a departure in will, action, or attitude from the purpose and will of God, and that the active originator of sin in the universe is Satan (Genesis 3:11; 1 Timothy 2:14a; Romans 3:10-18; Jeremiah 3:25; Proverbs 24:9; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19 – especially verse 15).
The Doctrine of Salvation
We believe it is impossible for man to save himself from sin. If he is ever to possess eternal life and enter heaven, he must be saved by God, for “Salvation is of the Lord”. The Father is its Source, the Son is its basis, and the Holy Spirit is its Agent applying the saving work of Christ to men through the instrumentality of the Word of God (Romans 5:6; John 3:16; John 3:3; Jonah 2:9; Titus 2:11; l John 5:11-13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:23).
We believe that, while the basis of salvation is the meritorious work of Christ on the cross,
the condition of salvation is faith in Him alone, and that repentance is a vital part of believing (1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 2:38).
Further, we believe when men are saved by grace through faith, they are united to Christ, regenerated, justified, adopted, sanctified (initially and progressively), made to persevere, and are ultimately glorified (Romans 6:3; Titus 3:5; Romans 3:24; Galatians 4:1-7; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:30).
Finally, we believe when men are saved, they will give evidence of salvation through “fruitfulness”, will be kept by God’s power, and will be secure in Christ forever (Matthew 12:33; 1 Peter 1:35; John 10:28).
The Doctrine of the Church
We believe in the invisible and universal church as an organism composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who have been called out from the world and have been vitally united by faith to Christ, its living Head and sovereign Lord (1 Corinthians 12:12-30).
We also believe in the visible and local church as an organized body of believers in Christ who are voluntarily joined together and who meet at regular times to glorify God through worship, prayer, edification, evangelism and service (Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 3:20-21; Philippians 3:3; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 20:28; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:11-16).
We further believe that the local church is self -governing, and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; that it must guard against any compromising alliances that would yoke believers with unbelievers (Acts 13:1,4; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17).
Finally, we believe that believer’s baptism by immersion in water and the Lord’s Supper are the only two ordinances of the church; that the sole Head of the church is Jesus Christ and that He governs it through the biblical officers or pastors (elders) and deacons by the suffrage of the congregation; that every member is a priest to God having access to Him directly through Jesus Christ and being privileged to interpret Scriptures through the Holy Spirit; that all members have a ministry by virtue of their spiritual gift or gifts; and that the local church is responsible for disciplining sinning members (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:18-34; Colossians 118; Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 2:20; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13).
The Doctrine of Angels
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings known as angels to serve Himself; that one, “Lucifer, son of the morning” – the highest in rank – sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan who is now the enemy of God; and that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall. The work of fallen angels is to oppose God’s purposes; to afflict, hinder and deceive God’s people; and to execute Satan’s will (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 12:22; Hebrews 1:14; Psalms 103:20; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-19; John 8:44; Luke 10:18; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; 1 Timothy 3:6; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 13:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Revelation 20:3; Matthew 12:26-27).
We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that under the permission of God, he subtly led our first parents into transgression, thereby accomplishing their moral fall and subjecting them and their descendants to his own power (1 John 3:8; Genesis 3:1-13; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; 1 John 5:19).
We believe there is no hope of redemption for Satan and his fallen angels; that during the Tribulation, after being denied access to Heaven, Satan will vent his wrath upon the earth. After Christ’s return to earth, Satan will be bound for a thousand years, loosed for a season and finally cast with his angels into the Lake of Fire forever (Genesis 3:14; Isaiah 65:25; Revelation 12:7-9,12; Revelation 20:7-10).
We also believe in good angels who have both a heavenly and earthly ministry. In heaven they worship and serve God. On earth they take care of children; they minister to the believers by guiding, cheering and strengthening them; they defend, protect and deliver them; they take an interest in the salvation of souls and are eyewitnesses of the church and the believer; they guard the elect dead; they will accompany Christ in His Second Coming and execute judgment on the wicked (Nehemiah 9:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:14; Isaiah 6; Revelation 5:11-12; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:11; Romans 8:26; Romans 27:23-25; Romans 12:8-11; Luke 15:10; 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10; Luke 16:22; Matthew 24:31; Jude 9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Matthew 13:39-42).
The Doctrine of Last Things
We believe in the personal, visible, imminent and premillennial return of Jesus Christ to this world. While no one knows the day or hour of His coming, signs signal its nearness (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 1:7; Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 20:1-7; Matthew 24:36; Matthew 24:1-35).
We believe in the rapture of the church, the great tribulation and the millennial reign of Christ on earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 2-1:29-35; Revelation 7; Revelation 20:2-7; Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 11:1-6,9).
We believe in the literal, bodily resurrection of all men – of righteous men to reward and conscious, everlasting blessedness in the presence of the Lord; of unrighteous men to judgment at the Great White Throne and conscious, everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire (John 5:28; 1 Corinthians 15:12-28; Revelation 20:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; Romans 2:5-8, Revelation 21-22:5; Revelation 20:10-15).
The Doctrine of the Christian Life
We believe the supreme task of every believer is to glorify God; that his conduct should be blameless before the world; that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions and spiritual gifts; and that he should seek to realize for himself maturity in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 2:15; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Corinthians 13:11).
We believe that every believer should grow spiritually through the means of grace which God has given him, that is the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Word of God, prayer, the ordinances, the church, and the Lord’s Day (2 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; John 17:17;
Ephesians 5:26; Romans 12:12; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Ephesians 4:7-16; Genesis 2:1-3; Acts 20:7).
We believe that obedience to Christ includes the worldwide proclamation of the gospel, that evangelism is totally consistent with God’s sovereignty in salvation, and that the use of appropriate means in reaching the lost is proper. We believe that evangelism must include the nurture of converts and their addition to local churches of sound doctrine and practice (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 8:30; Romans 10:14-15; Acts 17:16-34; Acts 2:41-42).
We believe that we should seek to keep all things which the Lord Jesus has commanded us; among which are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our brothers as we do ourselves (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 8:30; Romans 10:14-15; Acts 17:16-34; Acts 2:41-42).
We believe that the overcoming Christian life will evidence these qualities; an earnest desire to do the will of God, rather than the desires of the natural man; kindness, tenderheartedness, separation from unfruitful works of darkness, and reproof of them; walking carefully before the world, maintaining an effective Christian witness; doing good to all men, especially those of the household of faith; putting away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking (Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:11,15; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:31).
We believe that marriage and the family unit are ordained of God and basic to social order. We believe the Scriptures prohibit homosexuality, and sexual union and cohabitation outside of marriage. We believe that God’s design is for marriage to last until death, and that believers should marry only believers (Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 7:2,9; Leviticus 18; 1 Corinthians 5:1; Matthew 19:8; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:39).
We believe that human government is ordained by God; that leaders are to be prayed for, honored and obeyed in all things not opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ as stated in Scripture (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Peter 2:17; Acts 4:19).